Exploring Aurangabad: Day 03
One of the seventh wonders of Maharashtra, the historical triangular fort of Daulatabad was built in 1187 by king Bhillama Vth. Daulatabad fort is in Daulatabad which was also known as Devagiri. It is believed that Lord Shiva stayed on the surrounding hills and hence the name Devagiri!
In around 1327, Muhammad bin Tughluq shifted the capital of country and entire population from Delhi to Daulatabad, which was later shifted back to Delhi due to lack of water. It is said that king Muhammad bin Tughluq was also moniker ‘Mad King’ for capital shifts.
There is a ticket of Rs15 per head and camera ticket of Rs30 payable at ticket counter which is at road head only.
Food & Water
The fort is at a height of around 200m. Although drinking water is available inside fort but it is recommended to carry own water bottles.
It is suggested to eat light. Nothing to eat is available inside fort premises. Restaurants are available at roadside near ticket counter.
Journey & other details
We hired auto from our hotel 7Apple for the day. Our auto driver Arif bhai (096653 37660) took us around all the places and was kind enough to take care of breakfast and lunch too.
There are few other options too.
(a). One of the cheaper options is to go to central bus stand and book seat in City MTDC AC Bus which takes you around the city.
Website for booking bus tickets
The bus starts from Central Bus Stand and takes around the city.
(b). Other option is that one can hire a cab. Of course, #OlaCabs (outstation) are always available.
Chini Mahal is a special prison built by Aurangzeb where he imprisoned Abul Tana Shah of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty of Hydrabad.
Later on in timeline, Sambhaji, son of Shivaji was also imprisoned in Chini Mahal.
There is a prominent Minar which can be seen from far of places from Daulatabad fort. Bahmani ruler Hasan Gangu Bahmani, also called as Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah got Chand Minar built in period between 1347 to 1358. Ala-ud-Din was great fan of Qutb Minar and employed Iranian architects to build Chand Minar which is its replica.
There are massive old cannons placed inside the fort facing surrounding areas. There is a well thought of cave entrance meant to confuse the attacking enemy. The fort is standing on conical hill. Around 50m of the hill from the base was cut to increase the defense potential of the structure.
The passage to summit is through a narrow bridge which allows passage of not more than two person at a time. This was designed to prevent sudden enemy attack.
The fort has only one entrance/exit. The objective behind keeping one entrance/exit was to confuse enemy and thus to drive them deep inside fort in search of exit at their own peril!
Spikes at the gates were made to prevent elephants to break open the gates.
The flag mast is on the left hill to confuse the enemy trying to capitulate the fort. The false gates are on the left and real gates are on the right, built so confuse the enemy. Gates are not parallel & are designed to break the momentum of the advancing enemy.
The hill is shaped like a smooth tortoise back to prevent enemy from using mountain lizards to climb. This really amazed me!
Aurangzeb Ka Maqbara, Khuldabad
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, who is known to be religious follower of his spiritual guru Sheikh Zainuddin, wanted to be buried in his guru’s dargah after his death. Aurangzeb ruled the Indian subcontinent for almost 50 years but wanted his grave to be remarkably simple unlike other Mughal tombs like Taj Mahal and Biwi Ka Maqbara, etc. It is said that Aurangzeb paid for his burial space in his last years by making caps which cost 14 rupees and 12 annas!
Tomb of Aurangzeb is located in Khuldabad district of Maharastra. The dargah also has tombs of Aurangzeb’s son Azam Shah & his wife and also of first Nizam, Asaf Jah-I & his son Nasir Shah.
It is also pertinent to know that Khuldabad is also holy place for the Indian Muslim community and a major centre for the five-day Urs celebrations held annually.
Dress: Tomb being a religious place, it is suggested that tourist dress up keeping sanctity of the place in mind.
Ellora has around 100 caves out of which 34 are open for tourists. Out of these 34, cave no 1 to 12 (total: 12) are Buddhist caves, cave no 13 to 29 (total: 17) are Hindu caves & cave no 30 to 34 (total: 5) are Jain caves. The word ‘Ellora’ is a short form of its ancient name ‘Elapura’.
Dating from 600-1000CE, all Buddhist & Hindu caves were built during Rashtrakuta dynasty and Buddhist caves were built during Yadavs dynasty. A point to highlight, cave no 16 features world’s largest single monolithic rock excavation, the Kailasha temple, with a chariot on top dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Buddhist Caves: 1 to 12
These Buddhist caves were built between 630-700CE. Cave No 1 to 9 are monasteries & Cave No 10 is a prayer hall. It is interesting to know that Cave No 11 & 12 are also known as ‘Do Thal’ & ‘Tin Thal’ respectively.
Some caves have stone work which looks like wood. Craftsmanship of those artists are beyond imagination. 11 out these 12 Buddhist caves have ‘Viharas’ or prayer halls.
Cave No 5, also called as Maharwada Cave, has pair of parallel refectory benches across the whole cave and Buddha statue in the rear.
Cave No 10: Vishwakarma Cave or Carpenter Cave is a major Buddhist prayer hall. The exemplary craftsmanship on ceiling stone resembles wooden beams. Above this, there is a ‘chaitya-griha’ (prayer house). Cave has a 15-feet statue of Buddha seated in a preaching pose (Vyakhyana Mudra) sitting under a large carved Bodhi tree at his back. It is interesting to know that Cave No 10 is connected to Cave No 9 by an arched window. The broad friezes above the majestic pillars are Naga queens.
Cave No 11 & 12 are three storied caves.
Hindu Caves: 13-29
A majority of Hindu caves were constructed during 6th to 8th century. Some caves like cave no 14, 15 & 16 were constructed during Rashtrakuta period i.e. 8th to 10th century. Cave No 16 is the world’s largest monolith was completed in 8th century.
Cave No 29 also called as Dhumar Lena: This cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva having a rock cut linga-yoni with a space for circumambulation called ‘parikrama’. There is also a natural waterfall of river ‘Vale Ganga’. The waterfall visible from the balcony is also termed as ‘falling over great Shiva’s brows’.
Cave No 21, Rameshwar Temple was constructed by Kalachuri Dynasty. There are several monuments depicting various phases of Lord Shiva’s life.
Cave No 16, Kailasa Temple is cave temple inspired by mount Kailash which has been entirely caved out of a single rock. Made by Rashtrakuta King Krishna-I, it is believed that multi- storied Kailasa temple is twice as big as Parthenon in Athens and was made by removing 3 million cubic feet of stone weighing approximately 200,000 tones!
One of the walls of the temple (on the northern side) depicts Mahabharata and that on South side depicts Ramayana.
Cave No 15, Dashavatara Temple exhibits both Hindu & Buddhist deities. This overlap is speculated to be due to artists that might have been worshiping different religions and working on same site.
Jain Caves: 30-34
These caves are beautifully designed caves belonging to Digambara sect of Jainism. These temples are focused on 24 Jinas (spiritual gurus who got liberation from endless cycle of birth & death) and also on Yaksha & Yakshi (male & female nature deities). It is interesting to know that Cave No 34 is a small cave, which can be accessed from Cave No 33. There is a small opening from the first floor of Cave No 33 to go to Cave No 34 which is generally not seen instantly.
Cave No 30, Chota Kailash or little Kailasha is named so due to resemblance of carving to those in Kailasha Temple (i.e. Cave No 16).
Grishneshwar Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in Shiva Purana. The temple was destroyed during Hindu-Muslim wars of 13th -14 century but was rebuilt in 18th century by Hindu queen Rani Ahalyabai of Indore.
It is important to know that though anyone can enter temple premises but for men to go to sanctorum core, they have to be bare chested.
Panchakki was designed & erected by Turktaz Khan, a noble staff of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in about 1695AD. Built in building of dargah of Baba Shah Musafir, Panchakki is a water mill which generates energy via water brought from a spring on a mountain. This Panchakki is used to grind grains for the pilgrims.
It is interesting to know that this building of dargarh also consists of a mosque, a madarssa, a kacheri, a minister’s house, a sarai & a house for zananas. There is a huge water cistern to store water coming from stream. Cistern is made at a high to generate energy so that water could drive Panchakki. Bottom of cistern form ceiling of a spacious cool room for pilgrims.
This brought us to an end of another beautiful day. Day-03 was just amazing. Ellora caves are one of the most majestic monuments that we had ever seen. Do look up for upcoming blog Day-04. Happy Traveling!
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